How to Make Spring Cleaning with Children Stress Free

While the clocks are changing and the flowers are waking up, you're probably anticipating summer and the warmer temperatures it promises. But, don't get too ahead of yourself—it's still spring and spring means it's time to clean.

Whether you like to clean or not, a good, deep spring cleaning is always helpful. But often, especially for those with children, it can be an overwhelming burden. Here are just a few tips on how to accomplish an efficient and smooth spring clean with children.

Create a Hype

Spring cleaning is a great way to spend time together, and it can be fun. Talking to your children ahead of time about the importance of cleaning and their role helps them understand why it needs to be done and preps them for cleaning day.

Make it something they will look forward to by offering rewards. Take them out to their favorite restaurant or for a swim at the closest indoor pool once the cleaning is done. Some children might respond better to a financial reward, or the promise of a day with no lima beans. Whatever it is that motivates your child, use it to your advantage.

Who Can Help? How Can They Help?

Think about what your children are capable of helping with and what they might enjoy doing. If you have a young child (five or under), you'll have better luck if they're with the grandparents during cleaning. If you're distracted by young ones, no one will accomplish much.

When asking your child to do a chore, present it as an option. The question "Would you like to sweep the floor or clean the counters?" encourages a selection. They will be happier doing one rather than the other, and it makes them feel like it was their choice.

Young boy playing with blocks

Plan, Plan, Plan

It may seem odd to plan out a house cleaning, but when you're wanting to get your children's help, keeping them busy is key.

Decide what you want to accomplish and write it down. Making a checklist helps keep you focused on what needs to be done, and it's so satisfying to cross something off. Be detailed and specific (making a separate list for each room helps), but make sure you keep it realistic. You won't get everything done in one day—either plan on multiple days or bring the list down to a manageable size.

Check out this infographic for ideas on making your list. Or simply download Planet Aid's own Spring Cleaning Checklist!

List with checkmarks

Keep it Organized

One of the best parts of spring cleaning is being able to get rid of the winter's accumulated clutter. Determine what categories you want to use (keep, donate, trash, etc.) and have bags or boxes ready for each one. Set clear guidelines as to what goes where.

Throw out or donate anything that is damaged beyond repair or stained. Only hand down items if you have a specific person to give them to. Only keep items that are regularly used or beloved; if you haven't used it in the past six months, you don't need it.

Don't forget to drop off all your unwanted clothes and shoes in a yellow Planet Aid bin (even the damaged and stained articles can be recycled).

Two yellow Planet Aid drop bins

Anticipate Next Year

Now that you've decided what you're keeping, organize it. Put everything in its place and make sure everything has a place. Use bins with labels. Clear bins allow your child to see what's inside and pull out only the toy they want. Pictures (or your child's drawings) are a great visual way of labeling.

To help reduce clutter make a new rule: for every one item that comes into the house, an old item of the same must go out.

And, finally, once you have everything clean, try to keep it that way. It's less stressful to maintain clean than to do an overhaul every year. Put your rooms on a rotation and clean them regularly. You may even be able to avoid spring cleaning next year! (I know, I know, not likely. But we can keep our fingers crossed, right?)

For more tips, tricks, and spring cleaning ideas, see the rest of our Spring Cleaning Guide!